Money Saving Tips and Tricks: Susie Pearson

Keys to Shopping at Thrift Stores

Susie has been working at the UCLA Thrift Shop for 12 years and shares tips for shopping at these types of stores. "Know your prices beforehand. Do a little research beforehand so that when you're going into the store, you know if you're getting a good buy or not," she says.

If you're purchasing an electronic item, she suggests checking to make sure the gadget works before you leave the store. "We actually check out electronics ahead of time, but some thrift stores don't," she explains. "Sometimes, you can get a 24-hour return policy on them."

"Finding these thrift stores, I'm telling you, you can be strategic about this," Dr. Phil says. "The one that Susie's been involved with forever kind of sits at a junction between Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Brentwood. So you get really good stuff in there, right?"

"We do," she confirms. "We get wonderful things."

[AD]Dr. Phil notes that most thrift stores contribute their earnings toward good causes.

"Ours goes to patient aid," Susie says. "It's really for people who are quite desperate. We also buy blood mobiles. We buy ambulances. We really help people in the hospital at UCLA." Last year, her store made close to $1 million in sales.

"If you don't want to shop at a thrift shop, or you don't need to, then donate to a thrift shop," Dr. Phil suggests to his viewers. He adds that he and Robin donate to the UCLA Thrift Shop.  

The Economides children share their thoughts about buying clothes at thrift shops.

[AD]"It's normal. We've done it all our lives," says Abby, who feels $10 is expensive for a pair of jeans. For formal wear, she keeps it under $30.

"I've never paid over $30 for my formals," Becky adds.

The three young adults model their outfits, all of which were purchase at a thrift store. Becky paid $15 for her outfit, Joe doled out $24, and Abby spent $12.

Susie put together low-priced outfits from the UCLA Thrift Store. Two members of the Dr. Phil staff and the daughter of another staff member walk onstage modeling the items.

Sarah is wearing a Banana Republic black dress that costs $20 at the thrift shop, and BP shoes that are $18. "Her outfit would retail for over $200," Susie says.


[AD]Amy dons a Divine Brentwood jacket which sells for $20 at the thrift store, a pair of Banana Republic pants she found in the children's section, so they only cost $3, and a pair of $15 Private Collection shoes. "Her outfit thrift shop total is $40, and it would retail for over $250," Susie shares.

Matisse wears a $4 Abercrombie hoodie, a La Cosa long-sleeve T-shirt that sells for $4, and a $6 knit scarf. She owns the jeans and boots, and the thrift store would normally charge $4 for jeans and $10-$12 for boots. "The thrift shop total on that is $30, and it would retail for over $100," Susie says.